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Is Biden really winning?

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is running for president in 2020, but he’s using a 1920 strategy.

Biden declines to emerge from his basement and instead criticizes President Donald Trump, issues pronouncements and conducts interviews via social media broadcasts. Biden’s efforts recall the “front porch” strategy used by Republican Warren Harding, who a century ago literally campaigned from the front of his Ohio home. 

Biden’s plan might be working, if you listen to the mainstream media. Many headlines in recent days indicate the Democrat leads the Republican incumbent in national polls by five or six percentage points.

But we don’t elect presidents nationally. And that’s where Biden, like Hillary Clinton in 2016, has a problem.

Last week CNN and the polling firm SSRS released a poll that showed Trump prevailing in 15 critical battle ground states. They include: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.  

Among respondents within those states, Trump led the former vice president 52 percent to 45 percent. Additionally, 47 percent of voters in those states held a favorable view of Trump, compared to 45 percent for Biden.

The poll showed other troubling signs for the Democrat.

For instance, 11 months ago a Quinnipiac poll showed Biden with a 13-point advantage over Trump across the country. That lead not only has shrunk by more than half, but it was driven in large part by support for Biden by women. At that time, Quinnipiac indicated Biden outpolled Trump among women by margin of 60-34. Trump even trailed Biden among men back then, 47 percent to 46 percent. 

Yet the CNN/SSRS poll found that just 50 percent of women had a favorable opinion of Biden, while his support among men has dipped to 40 percent. In the more recent survey, Trump also led Biden among voters under 50.

The poll had a weakness. As The Hill reported, the CNN/SSRS survey did not sample each battleground state separately. Rather, pollsters simply surveyed residents who live in those 15 closely decided states in taking the pulse of the country at large. Which is why other polls in the states that are expected to be the most hotly contested reveal mixed results. Biden, for instance, holds slight leads in recent surveys taken in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — while Trump is up a tad in places like Ohio and North Carolina.

It’s obvious that neither Trump nor Biden is close to declaring victory. Surely these numbers will fluctuate should the challenger ever decide to leave his basement and face Trump head-on, when Biden will have to defend his long record, his plans for the future and his mental acuity against the president’s wood-chipper campaign rhetoric.

In the wake of this poll — or any poll — it’s also worth asking why our media still engage in this horse-race aspect of who’s up or down, or why we should listen to them. After all, the most overriding question rising from the autopsy of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 presidential election was: Why were the polls so wrong? 


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